Vitamin C Deficiency of Korean Homeless Patients Visiting to Emergency Department with Acute Alcohol Intoxication

J Korean Med Sci. 2015 Dec;30(12):1874-80. doi: 10.3346/jkms.2015.30.12.1874. Epub 2015 Nov 30.


Vitamins are essential micronutrients for maintenance of tissue functions. Vitamin deficiency is one of the most serious and common health problems among both chronic alcoholics and the homeless. However, the vitamin-level statuses of such people have been little studied. We evaluated the actual vitamin statuses of alcoholic homeless patients who visited an emergency department (ED). In this study the blood levels of vitamins B1, B12, B6, and C of 217 alcoholic homeless patients were evaluated retrospectively in a single urban teaching hospital ED. Vitamin C deficiency was observed in 84.3% of the patients. The vitamin B1, B12, and B6 deficiency rates, meanwhile, were 2.3%, 2.3%, and 23.5%, respectively. Comparing the admitted patients with those who were discharged, only the vitamin C level was lower. (P=0.003) In fact, the patients' vitamin C levels were markedly diminished, vitamin C replacement therapy for homeless patients should be considered in EDs.

Keywords: Alcoholics; Ascorbic Acid Deficiency; Homeless Persons; Vitamin B Complex.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / complications*
  • Ascorbic Acid / blood
  • Ascorbic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Ascorbic Acid Deficiency / complications*
  • Ascorbic Acid Deficiency / drug therapy
  • Ascorbic Acid Deficiency / epidemiology
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ill-Housed Persons*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Republic of Korea / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Vitamin B Complex / blood


  • Vitamin B Complex
  • Ascorbic Acid